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Wyspa Institute of Art Presents "Dockwatchers"
Karolina Kucia, performance at Gdansk Shipyard, 2005.

GDANSK, POLAND.-The Wyspa Institute of Art presents “Dockwatchers”, curated by Aneta Szylak. The exhibition opens September 2nd and will be on view through October 30th. Wyspa Institute of Art, located since 2004 in the historic Gdansk Shipyard, welcomes its first artists in residence: Fanny Adler | Cecile Paris | Zbigniew Libera | Rene Lueck and those especially invited: Elzbieta Jablonska | Jerzy Janiszewski | Grzegorz Klaman | Jacek Niegoda | Marek Sobczyk | Jadwiga Sawicka | Andrzej Syska | Michal Szlaga | Andrzej Wajda | Ania Adam Witkowscy | Alina Zemojdzin, participants in the “Dockwatchers” project. The exhibition, preceded by thematic residency, puts into the artists’ hands the multi-layered and multi-faceted cultural construct of the last quarter-century in Poland. “Dockwatchers” refers to cultural memory, its aberration, re-enactment and displacement.

The past remembered or rather memorized? Based on facts or feelings? Material or immaterial? In his 1981 feature film, “The Man of Iron”, Andrzej Wajda re-enacted the scenes memorized from famous photographs and TV news items from the strikes in Gdansk Shipyard. He mixed up staged situations with genuine documentary recordings, making not only a movie but, more importantly, a significant operation on the collective memory. Along with the famous Solidarnosc logo by Jerzy Janiszewski, the film lays the foundations of the international visual legacy of the 1980s in Poland. Aneta Szylak, the curator, takes these two artefacts as points of departure for “Dockwatchers”, building the intellectual premises of the exhibition on re-enactment, revision of symbolic values as well as visible and invisible shifts in cultural memory.

With “Dockwatchers”, happening alongside the official celebrations of the 25th anniversary of Solidarnosc, Wyspa targets beyond officially represented history. It asks about oral histories, cracks in memories, abandoned visions and desolated heroes. “Dockwatchers” addresses the person, the individual, caught up in political and historical processes, whose personal memory is inscribed in collective experiences, the official representations of history and various forms of commemoration and mythologization.

The project was made possible through the partnership of Espace Croise in Roubaix and Kunstverein in Hamburg in collaboration with Fundacja Signum in Poznan, the French Embassy in Warsaw and the Goethe Institute in Warsaw.

The funding has been provided by French-German Cultural Projects in Other Countries as well as by numerous individual and institutional donors.

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